Just hang in until we get the exchange rate right

You want evidence that we are being driven into a lower standard of living? Try this:

Mr Stevens, who has consistently maintained the currency is materially overvalued, said a number in the vicinity of US75c seemed an appropriate valuation, which means the currency would need to fall a further 9 per cent from current level.

“I think it’s quite likely that it will, a year from now, be lower than it is today,” Mr Stevens told The Australian Financial Review.

“A year ago I said probably 85 US cents was better than 95. And if I had to pick a figure now, I would say probably 75 is better than 85.”

The Treasurer’s parliamentary secretary, Steven Ciobo, said the Australian dollar was “still at historically high levels”.

“Over the longer term we do need the Australian dollar to come down further,” he told ABC Radio.

“By doing that, it will help the Australian economy to transition from being focused too heavily on mining, to being refocused again more broadly on the services side of the economy, which of course accounts for the vast bulk of the Australian economy.”

We are looking at a major drop in living standards that no one is doing a thing to resist. Fire sale prices on what we sell with major increases in the prices of what we buy. This is all round bad advice, but if the RBA intends to engineer us into this loss of wealth and income, at least the government could do something about its own level of spending, our bizarre industrial relations straight jacket and the regulations that are preventing expansion by those firms still willing to give it a go.

Meanwhile, how will anyone thinking about what to do react to hearing that the dollar might be falling another ten or so percent. The instability of such kind of talk will freeze this economy up so that no one will do a thing until the air has finally cleared.

The $A and a Double D election

What has struck me almost daily when in Canada and the United States was how strong the Australian dollar is compared with the local currencies. We are not so productive relative to them that things should look so cheap to me. I think the $A is heading for a fall, and so does Glenn Stevens:

RESERVE Bank governor Glenn Stevens has warned investors to brace for a slump in the Australian dollar when the US Federal Reserve starts to lift interest rates and questioned whether ultra-loose monetary policy was fostering the right kind of risk-taking.

There are so many ways the Australian economy might unravel. I watch from this distance the Opposition and non-Coalition Senators playing Russian roulette with the Australian economy. It’s one thing to have a different policy view but to let the many economic problems Australia has fester so that they can take over an economy that has been devastated by the fiscal measures they introduced is no small worry.

There will almost surely be a double dissolution in which the question will be whether the country wishes to live in a fool’s paradise or whether it wishes to deal with the problems that are clearly visible. I think Australia may still be able to work it through and come to the right decision in a vote. Or perhaps not, but that will likely be the kind of election we will be having in the next year or two. Because whatever else, things cannot go on as they are.